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The Kalevala, by John Martin Crawford, [1888], at



WAINAMOINEN, ancient minstrel,
Passed his years in full contentment,
On the meadows of Wainola,
On the plains of Kalevala,
Singing ever wondrous legends,
Songs of ancient wit and wisdom,
Chanting one day, then a second,
Singing in the dusk of evening,
Singing till the dawn of morning,
Now the tales of old-time heroes,
Tales of ages long forgotten,
Now the legends of creation,
Once familiar to the children,
By our children sung no longer,
Sung in part by many heroes,
In these mournful days of evil,
Evil days our race befallen.
Far and wide the story travelled,
Far away men spread the knowledge
Of the chanting of the hero,
Of the song of Wainamoinen;
To the South were heard the echoes,
All of Northland heard the story.

Far away in dismal Northland,
Lived the singer, Youkahainen,
Lapland's young and reckless minstrel,
Once upon a time when feasting,
Dining with his friends and fellows,
Came upon his ears the story
That there lived a sweeter singer,
On the meadows of Wainola,
On the plains of Kalevala,
Better skilled in chanting legends,
Better skilled than Youkahainen,
Better than the one that taught him.

Straightway then the bard grew angry,
Envy rose within his bosom,
Envy of this Wainamoinen,
Famed to be a sweeter singer;
Hastes he angry to his mother,
To his mother, full of wisdom,
Vows that he will southward hasten,
Hie him southward and betake him
To the dwellings of Wainola,
To the cabins of the Northland,
There as bard to vie in battle,
With the famous Wainamoinen.

"Nay," replies the anxious father,
"Do not go to Kalevala."

"Nay," replies the fearful mother,
"Go not hence to Wainamoinen,
There with him to offer battle;
He will charm thee with his singing
Will bewitch thee in his anger,
He will drive thee back dishonored,
Sink thee in the fatal snow-drift,
Turn to ice thy pliant fingers,
Turn to ice thy feet and ankles."
These the words of Youkahainen:
Good the judgement of a father,
Better still, a mother's counsel,
Best of all one's own decision.
I will go and face the minstrel,
Challenge him to sing in contest,
Challenge him as bard to battle,
Sing to him my sweet-toned measures,
Chant to him my oldest legends,
Chant to him my garnered wisdom,
That this best of boasted singers,
That this famous bard of Suomi,
Shall be worsted in the contest,
Shall become a hapless minstrel;
By my songs shall I transform him,
That his feet shall be as flint-stone,
And as oak his nether raiment;
And this famous, best of singers,
Thus bewitched, shall carry ever,
In his heart a stony burden,
On his shoulder bow of marble,
On his hand a flint-stone gauntlet,
On his brow a stony visor."

Then the wizard, Youkahainen,
Heeding not advice paternal,
Heeding not his mother's counsel,
Leads his courser from his stable,
Fire outstreaming from his nostrils,
From his hoofs, the sparks outshooting,
Hitches to his sledge, the fleet-foot,
To his golden sledge, the courser,
Mounts impetuous his snow-sledge,
Leaps upon the hindmost cross-bench,
Strikes his courser with his birch-whip,
With his birch-whip, pearl-enamelled.
Instantly the prancing racer
Springs away upon his journey;
On he, restless, plunges northward,
All day long be onward gallops,
All the next day, onward, onward,
So the third from morn till evening,
Till the third day twilight brings him
To the meadows of Wainola,
To the plains of Kalevala.

As it happened, Wainamoinen,
Wainamoinen, the magician,
Rode that sunset on the highway,
Silently for pleasure driving
Down Wainola's peaceful meadows,
O'er the plains of Kalevala.

Youkahainen, young and fiery,
Urging still his foaming courser,
Dashes down upon the singer,
Does not turn aside in meeting,
Meeting thus in full collision;
Shafts are driven tight together,
Hames and collars wedged and tangled,
Tangled are the reins and traces.
Thus perforce they make a stand-still,
Thus remain and well consider;
Water drips from hame and collar,
Vapors rise from both their horses.
Speaks the minstrel, Wainamoinen:
"Who art thou, and whence? Thou comest
Driving like a stupid stripling,
Wainamoinen and Youkahainen.
Careless, dashing down upon me.
Thou hast ruined shafts and traces;
And the collar of my racer
Thou hast shattered into ruin,
And my golden sleigh is broken,
Box and runners dashed to pieces."

Youkahainen then make answer,
Spake at last the words that follow:
"I am youthful Youkahainen,
But make answer first, who thou art,
Whence thou comest, where thou goest,
From what lowly tribe descended?"

Wainamolinen, wise and ancient,
Answered thus the youthful minstrel:
"If thou art but Youkahainen,
Thou shouldst give me all the highway;
I am many years thy senior."

Then the boastful Youkahainen
Spake again to Wainamoinen:
"Young or ancient, little matter,
Little consequence the age is;
He that higher stands in wisdom,
He whose knowledge is the greater,
He that is the sweeter singer,
He alone shall keep the highway,
And the other take the roadside.
Art thou ancient Wainamoinen,
Famous sorcerer and minstrel?
Let us then begin our singing,
Let us sing our ancient legends,
Let us chant our garnered wisdom,
That the one may hear the other,
That the one may judge the other,
In a war of wizard sayings."

Wainamoinen, wise and ancient,
Thus replied in modest accents:
"What I know is very little,
Hardly is it worth the singing,
Neither is my singing wondrous:
All my days I have resided
In the cold and dreary Northland,
In a desert land enchanted,
In my cottage home for ayes;
All the songs that I have gathered,
Are the cuckoo's simple measures,
Some of these I may remember;
But since thou perforce demandest,
I accept thy boastful challenge.
Tell me now, my golden youngster,
What thou knowest more than others,
Open now thy store of wisdom."

Thus made answer Youkahainen,
Lapland's young and fiery minstrel:
"Know I many bits of learning
This I know in perfect clearness:
Every roof must have a chimney,
Every fire-place have a hearth-stone;
Lives of seal are free and merry,
Merry is the life of walrus,
Feeding on incautious salmon,
Daily eating perch and whiting;
Whitings live in quiet shallows,
Salmon love the level bottoms;
Spawns the pike in coldest weather,
And defies the storms of winter.

Slowly perches swim in Autumn,
Wry-backed, hunting deeper water,
Spawn in shallows in the summer,
Bounding on the shore of ocean.
Should this wisdom seem too little,
I can tell thee other matters,
Sing thee other wizard sayings:
All the Northmen plow with reindeer,
Mother-horses plow the Southland,
Inner Lapland plows with oxen;
All the trees on Pisa-mountain,
Know I well in all their grandeur;
On the Horna-rock are fir-trees,
Fir-trees growing tall and slender;
Slender grow the trees on mountains.
Three, the water-falls in number,
Three in number, inland oceans,
Three in number, lofty mountains,
Shooting to the vault of heaven.
Hallapyora's near to Yaemen,
Katrakoski in Karyala;
Imatra, the falling water,
Tumbles, roaring, into Wuoksi."

Then the ancient Wainimoinen:
"Women's tales and children's wisdom
Do not please a bearded hero,
Hero, old enough for wedlock;
Tell the story of creation,
Tell me of the world's beginning,
Tell me of the creatures in it,
And philosophize a little."

Then the youthful Youkahainen
Thus replied to Wainamoinen:
"Know I well the titmouse-fountains,
Pretty birdling is the titmouse;
And the viper, green, a serpent;
Whitings live in brackish waters;
Perches swim in every river;
Iron rusts, and rusting weakens;
Bitter is the taste of umber;
Boiling water is malicious;
Fire is ever full of danger;
First physician, the Creator;
Remedy the oldest, water;
Magic is the child of sea-foam;
God the first and best adviser;
Waters gush from every mountain;
Fire descended first from heaven;
Iron from the rust was fashioned;
Copper from the rocks created;
Marshes are of lands the oldest;
First of all the trees, the willow;
Fir-trees were the first of houses;
Hollowed stones the first of kettles."

Now the ancient Wainamoinen
Thus addresses Youkahainen:
"Canst thou give me now some wisdom,
Is this nonsense all thou knowest?"
Youkahainen thus made answer:
"I can tell thee still a trifle,
Tell thee of the times primeval,
When I plowed the salt-sea's bosom,
When I raked the sea-girt islands,
When I dug the salmon-grottoes,
Hollowed out the deepest caverns,
When I all the lakes created,
When I heaped the mountains round them,
When I piled the rocks about them.
I was present as a hero,
Sixth of wise and ancient heroes,
Seventh of all primeval heroes,
When the heavens were created,
When were formed the ether-spaces,
When the sky was crystal-pillared,
When was arched the beauteous rainbow,
When the Moon was placed in orbit,
When the silver Sun was planted,
When the Bear was firmly stationed,
And with stars the heavens were sprinkled."
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Thou art surely prince of liars,
Lord of all the host of liars;
Never wert thou in existence,
Surely wert thou never present,
When was plowed the salt-sea's bosom,
When were raked the sea-girt islands,
When were dug the salmon-grottoes,
When were hollowed out the caverns,
When the lakes were all created,
When were heaped the mountains round them,
When the rocks were piled about them.
Thou wert never seen or heard of
When the earth was first created,
When were made the ether-spaces,
When the air was crystal-pillared,
When the Moon was placed in orbit,
When the silver Sun was planted,
When the Bear was firmly stationed,
When the skies with stars were sprinkled."

Then in anger Youkahainen
Answered ancient Wainamoinen:
"Then, sir, since I fail in wisdom,
With the sword I offer battle;
Come thou, famous bard and minstrel,
Thou the ancient wonder-singer,
Let us try our strength with broadswords,
let our blades be fully tested."
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Not thy sword and not thy wisdom,
Not thy prudence, nor thy cunning,
Do I fear a single moment.
Let who may accept thy challenge,
Not with thee, a puny braggart,
Not with one so vain and paltry,
Will I ever measure broadswords."

Then the youthful Youkahainen,
Mouth awry and visage sneering,
Shook his golden locks and answered:
"Whoso fears his blade to measure,
Fears to test his strength at broadswords,
Into wild-boar of the forest,
Swine at heart and swine in visage,
Singing I will thus transform him;
I will hurl such hero-cowards,
This one hither, that one thither,
Stamp him in the mire and bedding,
In the rubbish of the stable."

Angry then grew Wainamoinen,
Wrathful waxed, and fiercely frowning,
Self-composed he broke his silence,
And began his wondrous singing.
Sang he not the tales of childhood,
Children's nonsense, wit of women,
Sang he rather bearded heroes,
That the children never heard of,
That the boys and maidens knew not
Known but half by bride and bridegroom,
Known in part by many heroes,
In these mournful days of evil,
Evil times our race befallen.
Grandly sang wise Wainamoinen,
Till the copper-bearing mountains,
And the flinty rocks and ledges
Heard his magic tones and trembled;
Mountain cliffs were torn to pieces,
All the ocean heaved and tumbled;
And the distant hills re-echoed.
Lo! the boastful Youkahainen
Is transfixed in silent wonder,
And his sledge with golden trimmings
Floats like brushwood on the billows;
Sings his braces into reed-grass,
Sings his reins to twigs of willow,
And to shrubs his golden cross-bench.
Lo! his birch-whip, pearl-enameled,
Floats a reed upon the border;
Lo! his steed with golden forehead,
Stands a statue on the waters;
Hames and traces are as fir-boughs,
And his collar, straw and sea-grass.
Still the minstrel sings enchantment,
Sings his sword with golden handle,
Sings it into gleam of lightning,
Hangs it in the sky above him;
Sings his cross-bow, gaily painted,
To a rainbow o'er the ocean;
Sings his quick and feathered arrows
Into hawks and screaming eagles;
Sings his dog with bended muzzle,
Into block of stone beside him;
Sings his cap from off his forehead,
Sings it into wreaths of vapor;
From his hands he sings his gauntlets
Into rushes on the waters;
Sings his vesture, purple-colored,
Into white clouds in the heavens;
Sings his girdle, set with jewels,
Into twinkling stars around him;
And alas! for Youkahainen,
Sings him into deeps of quick-sand;
Ever deeper, deeper, deeper,
In his torture, sinks the wizard,
To his belt in mud and water.
Now it was that Youkahainen
Comprehended but too clearly
What his folly, what the end was,
Of the journey he had ventured,
Vainly he had undertaken
For the glory of a contest
With the grand, old Wainamoinen.

When at last young Youkahainen,
Pohyola's old and sorry stripling,
Strives his best to move his right foot,
But alas! the foot obeys not;
When he strives to move his left foot,
Lo! he finds it turned to flint-stone.

Thereupon sad Youkahainen,
In the deeps of desperation,
And in earnest supplication,
Thus addresses Wainamoinen:
"O thou wise and worthy minstrel,
Thou the only true, magician,
Cease I pray thee thine enchantment,.
Only turn away thy magic,
Let me leave this slough of horror,
Loose me from this stony prison,
Free me from this killing torment,
I will pay a golden ransom."
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"What the ransom thou wilt give me
If I cease from mine enchantment,
If I turn away my magic,
Lift thee from thy slough of horror,
Loose thee from thy stony prison,
Free thee from thy killing torment?"
Answered youthful Youkahainen:
"Have at home two magic cross-bows,
Pair of bows of wondrous power,
One so light a child can bend it,
Only strength can bend the other,
Take of these the one that pleases."
Then the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Do not wish thy magic cross-bows,
Have a few of such already,
Thine to me are worse than useless
I have bows in great abundance,
Bows on every nail and rafter,
Bows that laugh at all the hunters,
Bows that go themselves a-hunting."

Then the ancient Wainamoinen
Sang alas! poor Youkahainen
Deeper into mud and water,
Deeper in the slough of torment.
Youkahainen thus made answer:
"Have at home two magic shallops,
Beautiful the boats and wondrous;
One rides light upon the ocean,
One is made for heavy burdens;
Take of these the one that pleases."
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Do not wish thy magic shallops,
Have enough of such already;
All my bays are full of shallops,
All my shores are lined with shallops,
Some before the winds are sailors,
Some were built to sail against them."

Still the Wainola bard and minstrel
Sings again poor Youkahainen
Deeper, deeper into torment,
Into quicksand to his girdle,
Till the Lapland bard in anguish
Speaks again to Wainamoinen:
"Have at home two magic stallions,
One a racer, fleet as lightning,
One was born for heavy burdens;
Take of these the one that pleases."
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Neither do I wish thy stallions,
Do not need thy hawk-limbed stallions,
Have enough of these already;
Magic stallions swarm my stables,
Eating corn at every manger,
Broad of back to hold the water,
Water on each croup in lakelets."

Still the bard of Kalevala
Sings the hapless Lapland minstrel
Deeper, deeper into torment,
To his shoulders into water.
Spake again young Youkahainen:
"O thou ancient Wainamoinen,
Thou the only true magician,
Cease I pray thee thine enchantment,
Only turn away thy magic,
I will give thee gold abundant,
Countless stores of shining silver;
From the wars my father brought it,
Brought it from the hard-fought battles."
Spake the wise, old Wainamoinen:
"For thy gold I have no longing,
Neither do I wish thy silver,
Have enough of each already;
Gold abundant fills my chambers,
On each nail hang bags of silver,
Gold that glitters in the sunshine,
Silver shining in the moonlight."

Sank the braggart, Youkahainen,
Deeper in his slough of torment,
To his chin in mud and water,
Ever praying, thus beseeching:
"O thou ancient Wainamoinen,
Greatest of the old magicians,
Lift me from this pit of horror,
From this prison-house of torture;
I will give thee all my corn-fields,
Give thee all my corn in garners,
Thus my hapless life to ransom,
Thus to gain eternal freedom."
Wainamoinen thus made answer:
"Take thy corn to other markets,
Give thy garners to the needy;
I have corn in great abundance,
Fields have I in every quarter,
Corn in all my fields is growing;
One's own fields are always richer,
One's own grain is much the sweeter."

Lapland's young and reckless minstrel,
Sorrow-laden, thus enchanted,
Deeper sinks in mud and water,
Fear-enchained and full of anguish,
In the mire, his beard bedrabbled,
Mouth once boastful filled with sea-weed,
In the grass his teeth entangled,
Youkahainen thus beseeches:
"O thou ancient Wainamoinen,
Wisest of the wisdom-singers,
Cease at last thine incantations,
Only turn away thy magic,
And my former life restore me,
Lift me from this stifling torment,
Free mine eyes from sand and water,
I will give thee sister, Aino,
Fairest daughter of my mother,
Bride of thine to be forever,
Bride of thine to do thy pleasure,
Sweep the rooms within thy cottage,
Keep thy dwelling-place in order,
Rinse for thee the golden platters,
Spread thy couch with finest linens,
For thy bed, weave golden covers,
Bake for thee the honey-biscuit."

Wainamoinen, old and truthful,
Finds at last the wished-for ransom,
Lapland's young and fairest daughter,
Sister dear of Youkahainen;
Happy he, that he has won him,
In his age a beauteous maiden,
Bride of his to be forever,
Pride and joy of Kalevala.
Now the happy Wainamoinen,
Sits upon the rock of gladness,
Joyful on the rock of music,
Sings a little, sings and ceases,
Sings again, and sings a third time,
Thus to break the spell of magic,
Thus to lessen the enchantment,
Thus the potent charm to banish.
As the magic spell is broken,
Youkahainen, sad, but wiser,
Drags his feet from out the quicksand,
Lifts his beard from out the water,
From the rocks leads forth his courser,
Brings his sledge back from the rushes,
Calls his whip back from the ocean,
Sets his golden sledge in order,
Throws himself upon the cross-bench,
Snaps his whip and hies him homeward,
Hastens homeward, heavy-hearted,
Sad indeed to meet his mother,
Aino's mother, gray and aged.
Careless thus be hastens homeward,
Nears his home with noise and bustle,
Reckless drives against the pent-house,
Breaks the shafts against the portals,
Breaks his handsome sledge in pieces.

Then his mother, quickly guessing,
Would have chided him for rashness,
But the father interrupted:
"Wherefore dost thou break thy snow-sledge,
Wherefore dash thy thills in fragments,
Wherefore comest home so strangely,
Why this rude and wild behavior?"

Now alas! poor Youkahainen,
Cap awry upon his forehead,
Falls to weeping, broken-hearted,
Head depressed and mind dejected,
Eyes and lips expressing sadness,
Answers not his anxious father.

Then the mother quickly asked him,
Sought to find his cause for sorrow:
"Tell me, first-born, why thou weepest,
Why thou weepest, heavy-hearted,
Why thy mind is so dejected,
Why thine eyes express such sadness."
Youkahainen then made answer:
"Golden mother, ever faithful,
Cause there is to me sufficient,
Cause enough in what has happened,
Bitter cause for this my sorrow,
Cause for bitter tears and murmurs:
All my days will pass unhappy,
Since, O mother of my being,
I have promised beauteous Aino,
Aino, thy beloved daughter,
Aino, my devoted sister,
To decrepit Wainamoinen,
Bride to be to him forever,
Roof above him, prop beneath him,
Fair companion at his fire-side."

Joyful then arose the mother,
Clapped her hands in glee together,
Thus addressing Youkahainen:
"Weep no more, my son beloved,
Thou hast naught to cause thy weeping,
Hast no reason for thy sorrow,
Often I this hope have cherished;
Many years have I been praying
That this mighty bard and hero,
Wise and valiant Wainamoinen,
Spouse should be to beauteous Aino,
Son-in-law to me, her mother."

But the fair and lovely maiden,
Sister dear of Youkahainen,
Straightway fell to bitter weeping,
On the threshold wept and lingered,
Wept all day and all the night long,
Wept a second, then a third day,
Wept because a bitter sorrow
On her youthful heart had fallen.
Then the gray-haired mother asked her:
"Why this weeping, lovely Aino?
Thou hast found a noble suitor,
Thou wilt rule his spacious dwelling,
At his window sit and rest thee,
Rinse betimes his golden platters,
Walk a queen within his dwelling."
Thus replied the tearful Aino:
"Mother dear, and all-forgiving,
Cause enough for this my sorrow,
Cause enough for bitter weeping:
I must loose my sunny tresses,
Tresses beautiful and golden,
Cannot deck my hair with jewels,
Cannot bind my head with ribbons,
All to be hereafter hidden
Underneath the linen bonnet
That the wife. must wear forever;
Weep at morning, weep at evening,
Weep alas! for waning beauty,
Childhood vanished, youth departed,
Silver sunshine, golden moonlight,
Hope and pleasure of my childhood,
Taken from me now forever,
And so soon to be forgotten
At the tool-bench of my brother,
At the window of my sister,
In the cottage of my father."

Spake again the gray-haired mother
To her wailing daughter Aino:
"Cease thy sorrow, foolish maiden,
By thy tears thou art ungrateful,
Reason none for thy repining,
Not the slightest cause for weeping;
Everywhere the silver sunshine
Falls as bright on other households;
Not alone the moonlight glimmers
Through thy father's open windows,
On the work-bench of thy brother;
Flowers bloom in every meadow,
Berries grow on every mountain;
Thou canst go thyself and find them,
All the day long go and find them;
Not alone thy brother's meadows
Grow the beauteous vines and flowers;
Not alone thy father's mountains
Yield the ripe, nutritious berries;
Flowers bloom in other meadows,
Berries grow on other mountains,
There as here, my lovely Aino."

Next: Rune IV. The Fate of Aino.